‘Cats nip Lady Vikings

Published 2:59 am Thursday, September 20, 2007

By By STEVE MORRISON / Niles Daily Star
NILES – In a shocking finish Mattawan's Lady Wildcats overcame Niles' varsity volleyball squad in a controversial ending Wednesday night at Niles High School.
Two disputed calls, one on a carrying ruling and another on a ball that was ruled to be touched by a Niles player but looked to have sailed undisturbed, out of bounds, made the outcome a bitter one.
The Vikings won the opening game with a slim 25-22 margin. A spike and two aces by Katie Bourbonnais, in the early going, put Niles up 8-4. A kill and an ace by Mattawan's Abby Stafford brought back the Wildcats to a 17-17 tie midway through the initial contest. With the match swaying back and forth, a lift violation on the wildcats put Niles up to stay 20-19.
Mattawan's Marissa McCorry asserted herself in the second game with several spikes and tips that caught the Vikings off balance. Niles started out with the lead beginning with a stinging spike by Karly Kennedy and a quick tip by Madalynn Peterek to go up 4-2. Two spikes and two tips by McCorry, coupled with two kills by teammate Stafford were thorns in the side of the Vikings' efforts to keep pace. Patty Anton, Samantha Brawley and Kaylynn Stephenson, of Niles, were superb on defense with constant digs to keep Niles alive. Bourbonnais blocked a McCorry missile, but McCorry scored three in a span of four points by the Wildcats to forge the Cats ahead at 20-13.
Niles' Anton sparked a short three-point rally to close 16-22, but the Wildcats finished it off on an ace by Lindzi Weller, 25-19.
With its best performance of the night, Niles flashed back with a 25-16 pounding of their opponents. Bourbonnais put Niles up 5-3 with a solid block and a smashing kill at the outset.
Better play in front of the net was apparent with two quick kills by Stephenson and two aces by Bourbonnais to build Niles to a 20-11 lead. A great block of McCorry by Anton, at 22-14, led up to the final ace by Stephenson to help Niles run away with the victory.
Mattawan regrouped in the fourth game. Led by McCorry's tricky tip the Wildcats confused the Vikings with several lobs that fell just out of reach in mid-court. A sharp kill by Ashley Allison and one by Bourbonnais gave the Vikes temporary hope at 22-19, but Mattawan scored three of the next four points to win 25-20 and force a tie breaker.
Karly Kennedy began the deciding finale with a beautiful ace to the back corner. With continuous slams by McCorry, Stafford and shot saving digs by the rest of the Wildcats, an 11-6 advantage was gained. A tip by Stephenson and an ace to follow, by Kennedy, brought Niles back to 13-10.
A critical, questionable, carrying call, at that point, robbed the Vikings of their momentum and suddenly Mattawan stole away with the clincher 15-12.
Niles Leaders
Kills: Kaylynn Stephenson 18, Katie Bourbonnais 11
Digs; Stephenson 21, Samantha Brawley 20
Aces; Bourbonnais 4
Assists: Brawley 22
Blocks: Bourbannais 3
Digs: Brawley 20